How Covid-19 accelerated adoption of technology in Commercial Real Estate (CRE)
The CRE industry was deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shifts in workplace models. First, the reduction in the ability to hold in-person meetings or show properties in person has forced companies to look into virtual tours and drone videos. Once the pandemic has settled a lot of companies, including big multinationals such as Google and Microsoft, shifted to hybrid work models. This has accelerated the adoption of technology in the sector, not only to enable virtual viewings and create more agile workplaces, but also in the process of lease management and customer service.
Let’s dive into how technology has developed in CRE to improve operations, as well as its offering to clients.
- Virtual Tours
Virtual tours were created as a response to a need to enable people to ‘tour’ spaces without visiting in-person. Companies leveraged the technology to allow clients to view the space virtually, as part of their decision making process. However, virtual tours aren’t just a COVID Band-Aid, they’re a useful tool to increase engagement, shorten the leasing process and increase in-person visits.
Virtual tours can provide an immersive experience that allows tenants to get a feel for the office space, from the comfort of their desk. It allows for more frequent communication with potential tenants and the landlord, speeds up negotiations, and reduces the cost of visits for both parties.
2. Enabling Hybrid-Work
The new hybrid office/home models have come with some difficulties. The most important one is how to adjust space based on user occupancy and density. It’s vital to ensure that the new working space isn’t overcrowded and that employees have access to everything they need. Desk booking technology allows to keep track and limit the number of people in the office to ensure every employee will be able to plan appropriately and access a desk.
Technology, such as sensors, can provide employees with contactless check-ins, which helps the organization judge the availability of desks and other resources in real-time. This technology allows organizations to optimize their hybrid workplace strategies, as the needs of the organization and it’s employees shift.
3. Big Data
“Big data is larger, more complex data sets, especially from new data sources. These data sets are so voluminous that traditional data processing software just can’t manage them. But these massive volumes of data can be used to address business problems you wouldn’t have been able to tackle before.” (Source: Oracle)
Big Data is not new, however, the speed at which the CRE industry is adopting it is. Big Data can help CRE organizations make smarter decisions around acquisition and disposal of properties. This data can include things such as: leasing statistics; public records; tenant activity; social media activity; etc. By analyzing large amounts of data, brokers can formulate long-term strategies, and predict new opportunities or trends that will help them stay on top of their competition.
The challenge with utilizing Big Data is finding a platform and assembling a good data repository, as well as developing a process to isolate meaningful data patterns.
4. Cloud-based technology
The cloud creates the ability to connect and integrate applications to develop powerful systems for managing business. For CRE professionals, cloud-based technology enables them to access data about properties, markets and their clients needs, anywhere at their convenience.
Cloud-based technologies are a great help in reducing the amount of time wasted on manual work in the office.